It was my first trip to the beach, and I couldn’t understand why it was so deserted on a summer day at Myrtle Beach. Sure, it was overcast and the whitecaps on the water were so robust our trip sponsors told us we couldn’t go out into the surf.
Maybe the locals weren’t used to all that wind, but me and the rest of the group of 4-Hers from western Kansas it felt like just another breezy day back home. We had a blast.
It wasn’t until we got back to Salisbury, N.C., that night that we learned a hurricane had passed by just offshore. We had spent the day blissfully unaware that we were in the outer bands of the hurricane.
No wonder we had the beach to ourselves.
I don’t recall the name of the hurricane from the mid-’70s, and do not harbor the illusion that it was on par with Katrina or Camille. But it did trigger a curiosity in this tyke from Tornado Alley about which form of severe weather is worse: hurricanes or tornadoes?
Hurricanes are much, much larger, of course, and they’re capable of widespread damage in a way tornadoes can’t touch. Strong winds can destroy buildings and heavy rains can trigger massive flooding – as New Orleans experienced with Katrina.
But we know about hurricanes days in advance, and have far more time to prepare…or simply evacuate.
Tornadoes, on the other hand, are terribly unpredictable. They can be a few yards or a few miles wide and decimate whatever happens to be in their way. Just look at what happened to Udall and Greensburg.
I’d love to hear what you think — particularly if you’ve lived through both forms of severe weather.